Bultheel and Iezzi may at first sound like a cartoon duo from the 90s, but really they are the people behind 33, the most subversive pop act on the Rewire line-up.
Billy Bultheel and Alexander Iezzi are a duo that was not supposed to meet: doing different things in different cities – Iezzi as an artist and musician in Berlin and Bultheel as a conservatory-trained composer and performance-maker in Brussels. But when they coincidentally met in Rotterdam the pair just clicked. A subsequent session at Worm, with plenty of friends running in and out of the studio, laid the foundation for what would eventually become their joint project, 33.
The duo originally focussed on the performative aspect, taking their show all around Europe and the US: from New York City to Zagreb and back to Berlin. “The shows weren’t really concerts, even though we played music. Just like the release concert at TRAUMA bar that we are preparing for right now,” said Iezzi in Das Wetter. “We always knew that these performances had to move and that we had to think them as modular.” But when their shows came to a standstill during the pandemic, the duo had to rethink the project. And so, while the pandemic raged, Bultheel and Iezzi hid from its tightening grip on the world in the studio in Berlin. The result from those sessions was their debut album 33-69 (2022) that curiously blends equal-parts brutal and banging hardcore rave, inward-looking chamber music, and artful punk. It shows a potpourri of genres that reflects the different artistic backgrounds of the pair – and particularly how it has spiraled into something that is practically impossible to nametag.
However, according to Butlheel and Iezzi, 33 should not be categorized as a difficult art project that tries to overthrow performance art conventions. Instead they want to be considered as a band, or to be more specific, a pop act. As Bultheel explains in Das Wetter, their goal is to be much more integrated in a shared and public framework: “it describes a communal effort. We like to play around with the medium of popular music, to package our work this way, because it becomes way easier to subvert than when it is labeled as art.” To achieve this Bultheel and Iezzi will be helped by a number of guests during Rewire. They are joined by cellist Patrick Belaga, who also featured on the group’s album 33-69, and the vocalists Ivan Cheng and Steve Katona.